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O'Reilly Slams Gays and Feminists for Failing to Defend Miss California

Reported by Ellen - May 12, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

Beginning this segment on tonight's (5/11/09) O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly began by talking about the “incredibly hypocritical ACLU not sticking up for Miss California's freedom of speech. It's unbelievable!” So suddenly O'Reilly's a fan of the ACLU, the same group he recently referred to as “terror allies?” But now he wants the ACLU in his corner? Well, here's a little news flash, Bill – the ACLU has already protected and defended Carrie Prejean through its staunch championing of the good old First Amendment. See, what people are protected from is the GOVERNMENT infringing on their speech. They're not, however, protected from the mighty roar of the populace when that particular speech – such as Prejean's – is deemed to be offensive. And stupid. And when she says that Americans can choose “same sex” or “opposite” marriage. Or talks about “my country” as though California is a country. And when the implant rumors circulate and then the topless pictures surface and she's laughed at and made fun of. With video.

“I also suggest – respectfully – that gay Americans should take the lead in supporting Miss California's right to voice an opinion on gay marriage. After all, gays want freedom of expression too . . . and where are the womens groups on this? Miss Carrie Prejean has been called all kinds of vile names.” Actually, people are not protected from being called vile names, as unpleasant a reality as it might be. But another point here is that gays already have freedom of expression; what they want is the universal freedom to get married – a freedom Miss Cali does not want to grant them.

According to you, O'Reilly, the ACLU, gay rights activists, and feminists everywhere dropped the ball on rising up to defend this poor, defenseless, innocent, much maligned Prejean. This woman, first, freely entered a beauty contest and subjected herself to judgments. She made some controversial comments and is now suffering the consequences. What happened to that Republican ideal of a free marketplace of ideas? Can we help it if she shopped one of hers and she's now getting what it's earning in the marketplace?

O'Reilly brought on Meghan Daum, LA Times Weekly Opinion Columnist, and Cathy Renna, former spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to discuss Prejean.

O'Reilly shot out of the gate with, “It would have been very smart for the homosexual community to say, 'Look, we don't agree with her . . . but she has a perfect right to say what she wants to say without being villified and personally attacked.;” Okay, let's go over this again. Yes, she has a perfect right to say what she wants, but those rights don't protect her from people being mean to her as a result. What kind of wacky logic is this, that it's smart for gays – the ones Prejean targeted – to defend her lack of sympathy for them? By that logic, O'Reilly – tomorrow night I want to hear you rise up in defense of Janeane Garofalo's right to launch a personal attack, even on you.

Renna said that plenty of people have defended Miss California's right to free speech and personal values, but she went on to say that Hilton Perez asked a good question, and Prejean's answer “was just poorly done . . . she's supposed to be representing a state of diverse people.”

Disregarding Renna's comments, O'Reilly veered back to the original rant: “I haven't seen one op-ed piece, I haven't seen anybody on television from the gay community or on the radio say, 'You know, we don't agree but the woman is entitled to her opinion and shouldn't be villified.'” Okay, O'Reilly, for the cheap seats: She had her right to her opinion, and she stated it loudly and ineptly. But other people who don't like what she said have free speech, too, and, as my grandma used to say, she's reaping what she sows.

Moving on to Daum, O'Reilly said, “When you have a woman, 21 years old, now being villified, called terrible names - awful - attacked by the NBC news operation in an unprecedented way, I expect that the feminists would be, 'Hey, we don't agree but we can't be doing this kind of stuff,' and I didn't hear a thing from them. Why not?” NBC again. Yawn.

Daum replied that “most thinking people . . . have bigger fish to fry.”

“Bigger fish to fry,” O'Reilly ranted, “than a world-wide exposition . . . this is the biggest – it may not be the most intellectual, but as far as a populist issue . . . everybody's engaged on this debate now . . . and you're saying it's not big enough for them to pay attention to?” O'Reilly really got going, crying, “This is the time for feminists to rise up and say, 'We're fair-minded people, we'll support you even if we don't agree with you!'”

Daum agreed that Prejean has been the subject of vile commentary, but said that Carrie Prejean is a grown-up, not a “wilting violet.”

O'Reilly brayed, “Here's what I'm hearing now . . . any adult woman is not entitled to any protection from the National Organization for Women . . . because they're grown-ups! So you go go after them as much as you can, that doesn't make any sense, why is there a National Organization for Women then?”

“Bill, the job of the National Organization of Women is not to defend people who are celebrities . . . she was asked a question, she gave an answer that . . . was absolutely within her right . . . .”

O'Reilly, raising his voice, said, “And nobody stuck up for her except me and a few other people.”

“You've gotta get out more, Bill,” laughed Daum.

“We did the research,” O'Reilly responded hotly. “Nobody in the liberal community stuck up for her, nobody. No gay people, no feminist people, nobody. Alright, if you guys are the big freedom of speech . . . ACLU. ACLU my butt! Okay? They couldn't care less about her freedom of speech,” O'Reilly screamed.

O'Reilly continued, “You're saying, 'We don't want to be persecuted or denied rights in any way because of our expression of homosexuality,' and that is a legitimate debating point, it is. So this woman says, . . . 'This is what I believe,' and gets killed for it. You guys would have been so smart to say, 'No, no, we're gonna defend her because this is exactly what we want.'”

What part of she-already-had-her-free-speech-moment don't you get, O'Reilly? Sheesh, I didn't hear you and Hannity rising up to defend comedienne Wanda Sykes' right to say Limbaugh was the 20th 9/11 hijacker.

Renna said, “Here's the reality here. I think what the gay community did, and what a lot of other people did, that was really support of her, which maybe she didn't understand, was we condemned the insulting language that Perez Hilton used."

I really think Renna was answering the wrong question – the bigger question is, why should feminists and gay organizations feel on the hook to defend Miss Cali after she has her little free speech moment, and flubs it, and people are mean about it?

If you can't watch the video below, here's a link.